Ontario MP Han Dong resigned from the Liberal caucus on Wednesday and will sit as an independent member.

The announcement came hours after a Global News report alleged Dong told Chinese diplomats that releasing two Canadians being held captive would help the Conservatives.

Addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, Dong said the “unverified and anonymous sources” quoted in the report have attacked his reputation and called into question his loyalty to Canada.

“Let me be clear, what has been reported is false and I will defend myself against these absolutely untrue claims,” he said.

“I’m taking this extraordinary step because sitting in the government caucus is a privilege and my presence there may be seen by some as a conflict of duty.”

In a statement to Global News, Dong confirmed he spoke with China’s consul general in Toronto about Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor, whom China accused of espionage.

But the MP denied advising Beijing to delay releasing them. Instead, Dong said called for their “immediate release.”

“As a parliamentarian and as a person, I have never and would never advocate or support the violation of the basic human rights of any Canadian,” he said in the House of Commons.